There are many activities and attractions that you can enjoy while visiting Yellowstone National Park in September. Located in the northwest corner of Wyoming, this vast wilderness area boasts some of the most stunning natural scenery in the United States.
This Yellowstone National Park travel guide will help you plan your September vacation: things to see, do and photograph as well as what to pack, where to stay and services available.
The park’s unique geothermal features create amazing landscapes with colorful hot springs and bubbling mud pots. You’ll also find an abundance of wildlife!
Keep reading for all the information you need about visiting Yellowstone in September and the fun outdoor activities you can do!
Use our Yellowstone National Park Packing List to make sure you have the right clothing and gear for visiting in September! Grab your free printable packing checklist by clicking the image below!
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Visiting Yellowstone National Park in September
In September you’ll find all the park roads, services, and campgrounds are open so it’s one of the best times to visit Yellowstone National Park.
Visitation numbers in September are high so be prepared for crowds during the day. We always recommend entering the park early in the morning, or even later in the afternoon.
Yellowstone Weather in September
The Yellowstone National Park weather and temperatures in September are moderate with highs in the upper 60s and lows in the upper 30s degrees Fahrenheit.
Be prepared for rain or snow at any time in September. It also doesn’t hurt to pack winter gloves, winter hat, winter coat and fleece jacket – wear layers since the mornings and evenings will be cool.
How Long Should I Plan My Yellowstone Vacation?
We suggest you plan to go for at least 4-5 days to really experience Yellowstone. This way you are not rushed and you can be a little more patient with the crowds of people knowing you have time to see everything.
Not only that, but 4-5 days gives you time to relax, fish, hike, and really experience Yellowstone for everything it has to offer! Here’s our favorite Yellowstone 4 day itinerary!
Yellowstone & Grand Teton AUDIO TOUR
“Download the app to your phone – no cell or wifi service needed. Based on your GPS location, the app takes you on a guided tour of the park and points out all the interesting features and stops. It’s like having a park ranger in the car with you.”
Things to Do at Yellowstone in September
Our number one Yellowstone vacation tip to avoid lines at the entrance gates is to enter the park early and head to the popular sites ahead of the crowds.
Be prepared for slow cars and bison or bear jams. Pack your patience and enjoy the scenery!
Here’s a list of Yellowstone National Park fall activities when you visit in September!
Yellowstone Scenic Drives in September
Yellowstone covers over 2 million acres of land! It’s divided into 2 main sections and 9 areas. You’ll find two scenic drive loops within the park, as well as other stunning Yellowstone scenic drives outside the park!
There are three entrances to access the southern loop of Yellowstone: West (West Yellowstone), South (Grand Teton), and East (Cody).
There are seven areas in the southern loop of Yellowstone:
- Old Faithful
- West Thumb Geyser Basin
- Grant Village
There are two entrances with direct access to the north loop of Yellowstone: North (Gardiner) and Northeast (Cooke City).
There are four areas in the northern loop of Yellowstone:
There are so many points of interest to see along these drives! We HIGHLY recommend downloading the GuideAlong Yellowstone Audio Tour App to hear fun behind-the scenes stories and local tips that play automatically as you drive, based on your GPS location in the park!
Hiking at Yellowstone in September
Before exploring any Yellowstone hikes in September, we recommend you check with the rangers at the Visitor Center to get current trail conditions. Also tell someone your hiking destination, route, and estimated time of return.
Click this link for a list of Yellowstone National Park Easy Fall Hikes to add to your list! Check out the Yellowstone hikes by region:
- Old Faithful Area Day Hikes in Yellowstone
- Canyon Area Day Hikes at Yellowstone
- Mammoth Hot Springs Area Day Hikes in Yellowstone
- Lake and Fishing Bridge Area Day Hikes in Yellowstone
- Madison Area Day Hikes in Yellowstone
- Grant and West Thumb Area Day Hikes in Yellowstone
- Tower and Northeast Area Day Hikes in Yellowstone
Here are a few tips to keep in mind when hiking at Yellowstone:
Stay on trails: taking shortcuts causes trail erosion and is dangerous. In hydrothermal areas, stepping on thin crust may plunge you into boiling water.
What to Bring on a Day Hike: at a minimum, carry water, a raincoat or poncho, a warm hat, an insulating (non cotton) layer of clothing, insect repellent, sunscreen, and a first aid kit.
Yellowstone Waterfalls in September
Most of the Yellowstone waterfalls don’t require hiking to see them. In September the water flow is lower than other times of year, but it doesn’t make them any less spectacular! Here’s a list of the main waterfall attractions in the park:
- Canyon: Lower and Upper Falls, Brink of Upper Falls
- Firehole Falls
- Gibbon Falls
- Kepler Cascades
- Lewis Falls
- Moose Falls
- Tower Fall
- Undine Falls
Yellowstone Geysers and Hot Springs in September
Any time of year is a good time to see the hydrothermal features in Yellowstone: geysers, hot springs, mudpots, travertine terraces and fumaroles. Check out the NPS website for the latest geyser eruption predictions!
Here’s a list of the best locations to see these these unique features:
- Old Faithful, Upper and Lower Geyser Basin
- Grand Prismatic (Midway Geyser Basin)
- Norris Geyser Basin
- West Thumb Geyser Basin
- Mud Volcano
- Fountain Paint Pot
- Mammoth Hot Springs
Wildlife at Yellowstone in September
Around the second week of September, you’ll begin to hear the high pitched bugle of bull elk signaling the elk rut! The town of Mammoth is a terrific place to watch the male elk exert their dominance.
Bears return to the lower elevations looking for berries and bull bison or elk that perished during the rut. Migratory hawks and eagles begin to travel south and west for the winter.
We’ve put together this resource of the best time to visit yellowstone for wildlife in case you want to see a specific animal in the park.
Remember the parameters to keep you and the animals safe!
- Never approach animals. The animals in Yellowstone are wild and unpredictable, no matter how calm they appear to be.
- The safest (and often best) view of wildlife is from inside a car. Always stay at least 100 yards (91 m) away from bears and wolves, and at least 25 yards (23 m) away from all other animals, including bison and elk.
- Never feed wildlife. Animals that become dependent on human food may become aggressive toward people and have to be killed. Keep all food, garbage, or other smelly items packed away when not in use.
- Never park in the road or block traffic. Use pullouts to watch wildlife and let other cars pass. Stay with your vehicle if you encounter a wildlife jam.
Yellowstone Photography in September
We recommend you have your camera ready to go because the wildlife you may see as you drive through the park won’t wait for you to find the camera in your car.
In September you’ll also want to photograph the geysers, hot pools, waterfalls and rivers. Here are some tips for taking pictures at Yellowstone.
Yellowstone Tours in September
Taking a tour helps you see many parts of Yellowstone that you might not see on your own. Here’s a list of Yellowstone Summer Tours you can still book in September :
- Yellowstone Lower Loop Tour
- Yellowstone Rafting Tours
- Yellowstone Kayak Tours
- Yellowstone and Grand Teton Wildlife Safari Tours
Yellowstone Camping in September
A favorite way to enjoy the park is by camping at Yellowstone National Park. With numerous campground options, you’ll find a variety of Yellowstone campsites ranging from full-service to primitive.
Many campgrounds begin to close in September so be sure to check closing dates!
All campsites at Yellowstone’s 12 campgrounds require advanced reservations in September. It’s recommended you make your reservations far in advance due the demand for camping at Yellowstone.
If you can’t find a spot in the park, check out the RV parks near Yellowstone National Park!
Yellowstone Maps and Guides at Amazon:
Where to Stay in Yellowstone in September
Places to stay in West Yellowstone
- Holiday Inn, West Yellowstone
- ClubHouse Inn, West Yellowstone
- Kelly Inn, West Yellowstone
- West Yellowstone hotels!
Places to stay in Gardiner
- Yellowstone Gateway Inn, Gardiner – full kitchen and comfy bed, one of our favorite places to stay!
- Park Hotel Yellowstone, Gardiner – charming place to stay and loved by guests!
- Absaroka Lodge, Gardiner – beautiful location with river views!
- Gardiner hotels!